JLoByeByeBirdie.com, a website dedicated to presenting the latest news and rumors for NBC’S upcoming ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ starring and produced by Jennifer Lopez (JLo), announces its Bye Bye Birdie Live! Dream Cast.
Inspired by real life rock star Elvis Presley, Conrad Birdie is drafted into the Army. His manager Albert Peterson puts his head together with longtime girlfriend Rose Alvarez and the two concoct a plan to have Birdie kiss one fan goodbye live on the Ed Sullivan Show, before going into the Army. The fan chosen to receive “One Last Kiss” from Birdie turns out to be all American girl Kim MacAfee who must deal with pressures from a jealous boyfriend (Hugo Peabody) and over protective father (Harry MacAfee). Meanwhile Albert’s romance with Rose is complicated by his over bearing mother’s interference.
ROSE ALVAREZ – Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez has been attached to play Rose ever since NBC decided to make ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ its 2017 foray into live musicals. JLo, as she is often called, is a singer, actress, dancer, and producer. She first gained fame for her dance as a Fly Girl on the series ‘In Living Color.’ Since then she has gained notoriety for her album sales and acting career. Her single ‘On the Floor’ is one of the best-selling singles of all time. She currently stars on the NBC series ‘Shades of Blue.’
ALBERT PETERSON – Neil Patrick Harris
The possibilities for Albert Peterson are virtually endless. There are many very skilled performers who could do justice to the role. Matthew Broderick is an actor who is very dependable. He is affable and talented, exactly what JLo will need in the actor staring opposite her. However, while most of his career he has been blessed with youthful looks, time is starting to catch up with him. He might just be too old to be believable as Albert. So, beating out Broderick in the Dream Cast is Neil Patrick Harris.
Harris has a youthful look to match Lopez. He has won a Tony for his headlining Broadway performance in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ and an Emmy for his guest starring role on the television musical series ‘Glee.’ In short, he can sing, dance, and act; is the right age for the part; and has a charisma that will compliment that of Lopez.
CONRAD BIRDIE – Ricky Martin
There are several directions stage director Jerry Mitchell and live-television director Alex Rudzinski can take in casting central character Conrad Birdie. Birdie has to be reminiscent of Elvis without being an imitation. Not only does he have to have the pelvis thrusts of Elvis, and the pipes to match, he has to have sex appeal that will translate to television audiences.
Nick Jonas has expressed interest in playing Birdie. While he would add another marquee star to the production, he isn’t quite the right match to play Birdie. While an amazingly talented performer, Jonas could be considered too short, and his vocal range too limited to impress.
Rikki Lee Travolta has also expressed interest in playing Birdie. Making a comeback from a disability, Travolta has the right look and sexual energy to fill the bill. However there are two potential strikes against Travolta: would NBC be willing to take a chance on a disabled person? And, while Travolta has an extensive theatrical resume (including playing Birdie), he is less known to television audiences.
Ultimately the best bet for the Dream Cast is Ricky Martin. Like Jonas, he has an International fan base. Like Travolta, he has the looks and sexuality necessary to make Birdie believable. Martin has scored Billboard hits as a pop singer and has starred on Broadway, most recently in ‘Evita.’
KIM MACAFEE – Vanessa Hudgens
Just as important as having the right Birdie for ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’, NBC also must be selective in their casting of teenage center of attention Kim MacAfee.
Taylor Swift would be an interesting casting choice, and if she expressed interest she would probably be a shoe-in. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean she would be the ideal Kim.
While Swift has mega star power, in terms of translating charisma in a theatrical role Vanessa Hudgens has her beat. Hudgens has stared on stage in ‘Rent’ and on television in ‘Grease Live!’ Ultimately she has the best combination of innocent looks, mature vocal and acting talents, and marquee name value to make the Dream Cast.
HARRY MACAFEE – Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane is one of the biggest names in Broadway, but he has a hard time finding work in television and film. Playing Harry MaCafee in ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ is the perfect vehicle for Lane to add to his television credits.
In addition to having his own signature vocal style, Lane is a comic genius. He edges out Kelsey Grammer and Alec Baldwin to make the Dream Cast. Lane has won multiple Tony awards including ones for his performances in ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ and ‘The Producers.’ He seems the best suited to chew up the scenery in this juicy part.
MAE PETERSON – Carol Burnett
Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan could go in several directions in casting Albert’s domineering mother Mae Peterson. Ann-Margret starred as Kim MacAfee in the 1963 film adaptation of ‘Bye Bye Birdie.’ It could be a treat for audiences to have here return to the material as Mae Peterson.
Another option for Mae that could delight fans is Betty White. White’s career has spawned over 75 years. She has received eight Emmy awards and many other distinctions including Screen Actors Guild awards and a Grammy. At 95 years old, she is still going strong.
In the end, the Dream Cast Mae Peterson is Carol Burnett. Burnett’s comedic genius has been on display on stage, on television, and on the silver screen since 1955. Most well-known for her series ‘The Carol Burnett Show,’ she has starred on Broadway and has won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards.
HUGO PEABODY – Chris Colfer
In all likelihood Hugo Peabody will be played by an unknown. However, if he’s available the Dream Cast role of Hugo would have to go to Chris Colfer.
Colfer is best known for his role on the hit television show ‘Glee’ – wherein he has well proven his ability for song and dance. He has won Screen Actors Guild awards, Teen Choice awards, and Golden Globe awards.
NBC’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ will air December 2017.
JLoByeByeBirdie.com is not affiliated with Nuyorican Productions or NBC.